As the Vikings prepare for Sunday’s Week 15 game with New Orleans at Mall of America Field, here’s a look at a handful of eye-opening figures and facts.
Adrian Peterson’s current NFL rank in rushing yardage. Peterson has 872 rushing yards but has missed the past three games and was also sidelined for the final three quarters of a Week 11 loss to Oakland. That sandwiches Peterson now on the rushing chart for 2011 between Tennessee’s Chris Johnson (875) and New York’s Shonn Greene (868). During his first four seasons, Peterson never finished below sixth in the league in rushing yards. He was second as a rookie in 2007 (1,341); first in ’08 (1,760); fifth in ’09 (1,383); and sixth last season (1,298).
Yards needed by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees to set a new single-season NFL record for passing yardage. Miami’s Dan Marino set the mark with 5,084 yards in 1984. Brees threatened to break the record three seasons ago but finished 15 yards short. He seems poised to surpass both totals this time around, needing to average just 238.7 passing yards per game over the final three weeks to leapfrog Marino. Brees’ final three opponents – the Vikings, Falcons and Panthers -- rank 26th, 22nd and 19th in pass defense respectively.
Tight ends this season who have accumulated at least 1,000 receiving yards. New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham has 80 catches for 1,101 yards and eight touchdowns. New England’s Rob Gronkowski has 71 catches for 1,088 yards and 15 scores. Earlier this season, Graham had four consecutive games with at least 100 yards and has had at least five catches in 10 of the Saints’ 13 games.
Net yards gained by the Vikings on their final series in Sunday’s loss in Detroit. Yep, you read that right. The Vikings ran 18 plays over 3 minutes, 32 seconds. Yet due to Joe Webb’s wild backwards-bouncing fumble on the final play, the Vikings officially lost 56 yards on that snap.
Points scored by Vikings’ opponents this season off of Christian Ponder’s turnovers. Ponder has thrown 11 interceptions and lost two fumbles. In Sunday’s loss in Detroit, the Lions converted four Ponder turnovers into 21 points with linebacker Stephen Tulloch scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery and cornerback Alphonso Smith also scoring on an interception return. Ponder’s 11 interceptions match the season total of Brees. New Orleans’ quarterback, however, has 306 more pass attempts and 21 more touchdown passes.